Athos – not for show: as we felt that pray together

And now four years later we’re flying again to Athos to take advantage of the blessing of gerondi Gregory to pick olives in the monastery Dohar. With an extraordinary lightness of the soul we are back “home”. In our cell 5 double-Decker beds. One high-rise building, we have taken Taras, and archontariki, the father Christopoulos, gave to us three Greeks. As it turned out, the wrestlers I know and respect Putin, especially pressed on the fact that he also studied judo. The end of the story of the pilgrim.

Photo: monk Nektarios /

  • On Mount Athos
  • Athos, called the Holy mountain
  • Mount Athos (Photo)
  • Each time Athos opens a new way
  • Athos – not for show: it’s good that we don’t get called

“I am the mother of God the Word, and with It this the abode of the Archangels and St. Nicholas Cover and Intercession. And now let them come to Me with any need. I’ll hear all reverently appealing to me, Orthodox Christians, because a Quick referred to as the”

(from the book. “Dochiar monastery on mount Athos”, ed. Dochiar monastery, mount Athos, 2012).

Part 1 – the link

Bequeathed to bury him without fanfare

Fell asleep before the head hit the pillow. And suddenly – beater. Batters and batters. And these alarm clocks for half past three. Nightmare. Not to go, or what? Well, once you can skip. What is out there! Taras top bother lovingly, “Paul, it’s time!” Well, time – so it’s time. All honestly, is not that why we came? The Greeks also rose. The street was dark – pitch dark. The selected cell is lit, the monks rise to duty. We are for them.

Go the other way. This is the South door of the Cathedral. On the left, on the marble lintel, is still visible the inscription: “1664 year. Oct fifth. Turks came, and we left.”

In the temple of twilight. We follow behind the monks to the Holy images and become “our” place. But something is wrong. In the middle of the temple there are large stretcher with handles. Looks like they someone is lying. Reason tells us, but the heart does not believe. Do not dare to ask. Everything suggests that we were at the funeral. The service lasts an incredibly long time. And that opens the face of the deceased and the monks bid him farewell. Some of them cry. We decide to approach. Apparently, this is geronda Gregory. God rest his soul!

After a seven-hour funeral herondo transferred from the Church to his final resting place: a niche in the wall of the temple, where 400 years lay the relics of another Abbot – gerondi Herman. We were surprised by the prose of the moment: no special celebrations. Looks like the closest circle of friends and the monks. And we were amazed that the severe monastic singing was accompanied by joyful bird trills of a Canary from his cell across the way.

Incompatible. Compatible. The soul – light and silence.

Men’s restrained sobs. The monks throw a handful of earth. We also… the Earth is here – the deficit, therefore, according to tradition, the land only sprinkled the deceased. When everyone said goodbye to gerondi, on top was placed a marble slab. She put the portrait of gerondi and the lamps, whose light will always illuminate the road of the monastic life of the monks of Dohihara.

All are invited to a memorial meal. Sounds a lot of speeches in Greek. Was Cahors and Koleva (Christmas pudding with pomegranate seeds and cinnamon). Again, the guests a bit. And only later, father Alexander said that geronda Gregory wanted to be buried without fanfare, and the throng of people. But he was and remains one of the most revered elders of mount Athos, that geronda raised the monastery Dochiar literally from the ruins in 1980.

Geronda Gregory. Photo:

Among the pilgrims the story also goes that recently on mount Athos visited the Ecumenical Patriarch with a proposal to limit the arrival of Russian. What are the most respected elders, geronda Gregory and the Abbot of the monastery of Simonopetra, refused to do so. We believe that the way it was.

Two bags faki – not a pound of raisins

So begins a new day. New not only for us. I must say that life in the monastery Dochiar tweaked so that there is no confusion we didn’t notice. Everything was going as, long established, procedure.

And as for us either forgot, or were reconciled to our presence. The second day, the kitchen took us the news that need to be cleaned “faki”. Had to ask again. It turned out that the “factsand“is lentils. Here’s to you, grandmother, and Yurev day! Two bags faki – not a pound of raisins. Test? Or Vice versa, the provision of special trust? In General, this faki reminded us of the tale of Cinderella… I wish!

The service was not the same as yesterday. This is understandable, and Greek nothing to do with it.

We survived it, not noticing fatigue, shaken by the morning’s event. It should be noted that geronda Gregory departed to the Lord in the commemoration day of St. Ambrose of Optina. God rest his soul!

And in the evening, instead of the Greeks, we have settled Serbs, or rather, Montenegrin. Here is the Montenegrin Sasha surprised us so surprised! Began with his admission that he became a believer thanks to Dostoevsky, which he read from cover to cover. (To my shame, I, for one, can’t say the same.) He also read Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Ilyin and Alexei Losev, Nikolay Berdyaev, Ignatius Brianchaninov.

He has two small children. Live a wealthy life, but he travels a lot.

– How is your wife released? I can’t help Taras.
– And we have believed that the one who goes to Holy places, he prays for the whole race.

And so Sasha, with family consent, already bowed to the many Orthodox shrines, and in Russia was the St. Sergius of Radonezh, Seraphim of Sarov, John of Kronstadt, even Alexander Svirsky.

And the next day happened to us here is such an embarrassment.

In the kitchen we waited half bag fakie. Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner, need so much patience? The Greeks-of the pilgrims sitting next to fakie, something began to sing. And then quietly move on the bulkhead of the bow. I had to do something drastic. And we have abandoned adopted here the method of bulkheads lentils: pour the slide in the iron bowl and choose the husks, stones, and seeds of weeds. This all – day nonstop. Where is our Russian savvy?

And we have applied it. While our good angel, the novice Seraphim laughing at the Russian name of this grain – “che-cheche-ccce-cccce-VI-cha?”, we made brainstorming. The result was the rapid way the bulkheads of this product and we still coped with the task. Looking at the rapid growth slides clean fakie, Seraphim suspiciously came up to us and carefully examined the seeds. “Okay?” – we asked. “OK, good” – thoughtfully replied.

Our took! The soul rejoiced. “Oh, Taras, and let’s now sing our, Russian!” on the wave of inspiration we are just bursting.

Taras was confused, and had to sing alone. “Because of the island to the rod, the open river wave!” Next big Greek Janis was putting a small fish on a large baking sheet for roasting. He even hung with the fish in hand.

Encouraged produced by the impression, I could not resist and go: “Oh, not evening, not the evening!” The success was overwhelming. All Greeks have stopped working, and Janis politely asked Taras: “the hymns?” Taras hesitated: “No, it’s folk, people”. “Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah, well. But — it is impossible.” Here is such an embarrassment!

There was nowhere to retreat, and then we sang that somehow resembled the hymns. And, despite the fact that the service we were late, but, with the permission of the father of Ephraim, we still finished off this “CCCCC-CCE-ccce-…”, in short, “faki”! Seeing us off for dinner, father Ephraim smiled. Phew, it seems, hold for another day. And there, suddenly, fakie flip…

And – threw. Taras – final rooting in the kitchen, where he, as a chef, the place, and my father Alexander, with the blessing of the acting Abbot of the monastery, introduced with the local gardener, father Onuphrius. Oh, that’s good to do what you love! Now every day Taras after the service, went to the kitchen, and I took a plastic bucket, secateurs and chemicals – to their favorite plants, of which the monastery of great abundance, especially since the weather was wonderful, about 25 degrees. But by the end of the day, hungry, I still ran to Taras to help. (Father Ephraim or sure Janis will be served!)

We felt that pray together!

Another amazing meeting: father Alexander introduced us to a Russian monk living in the monastery Hermitage. The monk theodoretos assumed was a young man thirty-two years, parents from Kaliningrad believers. Already four years living in a Hermitage one. Look clean as a source, a kind smile, quiet speech. Sad to leave, but it is waiting for a passing car.

One question: “is Not a boring one?” “No, I was asked in a skit at gerondi Gregory. And in the monastery for 14 years,” smiled the IBAS, instead. God save and protect you, IBAS, instead, on the hard monk path!

The Icon Of The Mother Of God
“Quick to hearken”

Morning, disturbing hum of the alarm clock. Half past three. Time. Now with us, the pilgrims from Romania. Before that was the Muscovites, petrozavods Ukrainians. But the staff here – only the Greeks. Well, we kind of wormed… But among the monks there are a few Russian. But in contact, they are reluctant, which is understandable, as the monks own life. With groups of Russian and Ukrainian pilgrims we have several times defended the akathist to the Quick. How could we dream of!

Get up and walk out on the street. Lighting enough not to stray. Our goal is to drink water from the Holy spring of the archangels Gabriel and Michael. Has already become a tradition that we before each service and after it come to the miraculous source, the location of which is indicated by the archangels at the time of great need the monks in drinking water. The depth of the well is 25 meters. As it was possible to find, even directly on the North wall of the temple?! Only by prayer. Delicious to drink from a tin dipper of cool, crystal water, healing and strengthening. Thank God!

In the temple gloom usual, pushed only by the light crackling of the candles. The monks black shadows moving among the miraculous images. I remember the first arrival on Athos these winged shadows I was very frightened.

And today happened what, maybe we arrived here. Only stood on “their” space as itself escaped: “Glory to God in prayer!”

No matter what language, no matter how we felt: pray together! Along with these ancient walls, along with her Mother, Quick to hear, with the Archangels, with a considerate novice Seraphim, with the good father Ephraim, strict arhontariki Patera Christopoulos, a caring father Alexander, with all the monks of the monastery Dohar. Together with gerondi Gregory, whose blessing we have been warmed and encouraged and helped not to lose heart. God rest his soul! After all, with God all things are alive.

And says in Russian: “Thank you, brother!”

Probably nothing original there in the statement that in the monastery no clock, no time in the usual sense. Everything merges into a common thread prayer vigils, in which their special life. Day – like moment. And our “labor progress” for monks – only an episode in the endless change of faces of the visitors of the monastery.

Thought so, your obedient servant, leaving the monastery Dochiar after a week of visiting its ancient and hospitable walls. And suddenly the goodbye hugs me gardener, Greek, father Onuphrius, and says in Russian: “Thank you, brother!” This is not to forget. And Taras was left in Dohere. Don’t worry, not for good – for another day. He didn’t want to leave his beloved kitchen.

And I couldn’t wait to find out how now lives with Russian Svyato-panteleymonov monastery. Moreover, that walk from Dichiara to the Panteleimon monastery is just an hour go.

Photo: Peter Weigand / Flickr

The last time I was here four years ago. And now again admire the grandeur of the temple complexes, equipped and well-groomed territory of the monastery. And as a good Avenue here with the roses – just the joy of the gardener! Even a couple of bananas growing. Miracles, and only.

Interestingly, in the door of the monastery I was greeted by a young monk to carry to the hotel. And, you know, what was his name? Guess three times. Panteleimon. And he gave me several fruit tree feijoa, which grows in the territory of the monastery. Like, here of iodine in the air a lot and the fruits of these very healing. May God grant you health, Panteleimon.

I have their own. The main difference from the Greeks: the meal is served the first, second and third. Barley soup with mushrooms, the second meal was borscht with sour cream. And most importantly: the last two services on Athos sounded to me in the Slavonic language.

During this visit to monastery of St. Panteleimon noticed, how come sick people to pray for his healing. Lord, have mercy on us sinners.

After Breakfast, prepare for departure. Finally, a ferry that will take pilgrims traveling back to Ouranoupoli. For some reason I remembered a young man from a previous trip who desperately bellowed, turning to the passengers. It turned out he was mute, missed his plane and didn’t know what to do next… Yes, much to see here. Even this:

By the fountain in the Marina

“Caution, ferry, next stop the monastery of Dohar”.

On the pier Dohihara the ferry sits Taras. Wow! He’s not alone, with him our old friend, Roman. In 8 days he went 12 monasteries, reached the summit of mount Athos, and returned to us in Dohar. Yeah, iron man! So we returned the same team: Taras, Roman and Paul.

Hold me, and then – fly away!

And the next day we were at home. Hello, Moscow. How quickly it happened. For the whole journey we never never delayed. Wonders!

And now – again the quick to hearken, and again kneeling before the icon, written by the Athonite monks. Yes, I didn’t say: only now is the list with the Athos of the image. Three years ago he was brought to the Church of the Holy Trinity Pushkino, rector, rural Dean of the city, Archpriest John, Monarchic. The parishioners gathered on the funds was ordered on Athos this miraculous icon, which is now the connecting link with the Holy land of Athos. Today, 22 November, the feast, the Church celebrates the Quick. Gathered clergy from around the deanery Pushkin!

What solemn service, the soul rejoices. “Hold me, – said Galya, my wife, – and then – fly away!” She firmly took my hand and held it all the service.

Photo from:

So, through the prayers of the Quick and with the blessing of father Alexander Ilyashenko, father of John Monarca and father Thomas Dietz, successfully completed our endlessly exciting trip to mount Athos where we have worked for the glory of God in the Greek monastery Dohar, under the warm sun of Halkidiki and the blessed Holy virgin quick to hearken.

October, November 2018 Athos – Moscow – Pushkino

Recorded Pavel Baryshnikov

P. S. Thanks for the help in organizing the trip Archpriest Thomas Diez and Mikhail over to Malham.

Useful tips:
1. How to get from the airport of Thessaloniki, to mount Athos

If the group is large, you can contact Larissa Bushko, according to one of the pilgrims, she is engaged in transportation “afantou” in Ouranoupoli.

Skype: labush2

Mail: [email protected]. Minibus, car.

If one or two people, we offer our version: from airport – bus 1X, to stop Aristotelous Square (Platia Aristotelous) (2 euros), then up square to the hotel Orestias Kastorias (bookable in advance) – 5 minutes go. Go stay in a hotel for two persons – 55 Euro/day. In the morning, at 5 o’clock – call a taxi (11 euros). At 5.20 we are already at the station Ktel Xalkidiki (KTEL Halkidiki). And at 5: 30 the bus leaves in Ouranoupoli (ticket – 13 euros). Ferry at 9: 30 (9 euros).

Obtaining previously ordered diamonitirion – 25 euros.

About the same back: bus from Ouranoupolis Halkidiki station. Then the bus no 45 A, B. A. Z. A. R. D (Aristotle’s Square). Hotel. A visit to the Basilica of St Demetrius. Morning – bus 1 to the airport. The plane. Home.

2. How to try not to be just a tourist on mount Athos

One monk from the skete of St. Panteleimon monastery on this question replied that “it is not necessary to strictly try to adhere to that plan, on mount Athos have to go where you’re leading a virgin”.

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